FAA approves PFAS-free foam for airports

The announcement clears the way for civilian airports to stop using PFAS-laden firefighting foam, which has contaminated water at hundreds of sites across the country.

Toxic threats

U.S. Department of Defense | Public Domain
U.S. Air Force firefighters work to extinguish a simulated engine fire at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012.

In a key step to protect drinking water and public health, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now authorized airports to use a firefighting foam that does not contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), otherwise known as “forever chemicals.” The FAA decision also facilitates an end to PFAS foams at military bases, as mandated by Congress.

PFAS are a class of thousands of chemicals that have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects including kidney and liver disease, immune system suppression, birth defects and even cancer.

These forever chemicals have contaminated the drinking water for millions of people across the country. In many instances, the source of that contamination has been PFAS-laden firefighting foam – especially at military bases. PFAS at civilian airports have  also polluted our waters – from Sacramento to Hartford.  

While long overdue, the FAA’s announcement means that civilian airports will no longer be compelled to use PFAS-laden foam. It also marks another crucial step to ensure that the Pentagon meets the 2024 deadline Congress set for ending PFAS foam at military bases.


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